- Ben Bryant
- guardian.co.uk, Monday 4 April 2011
What is the UN climate change conference in Bangkok?
From 3-8 April 2011, government delegates, representatives from business and industry, environmental organisations and research institutions will meet in Bangkok, Thailand, to build on an international deal on cutting carbon emissions. The first of three UN climate change conferences this year, the Bangkok talks will aim to improve an agreement reached at Cancún last year in order to secure a successor to the Kyoto protocol, which expires at the end of 2012.
Who is taking part in the talks?
The conference will have 1,500 participants from 173 countries.
What were the outcomes of the Cancún climate conference?
The conference began on a low note after delegates failed to reach an agreement at Copenhagen. A modest deal was reached in the final hours of the talks, in which countries pledged to meet emissions targets, although none of these commitments were legally binding. Countries also reiterated their intention to limit average global temperature rises to 2C above pre-industrial levels. In addition, a forest deal (Redd) will provide finance for countries who avoid emissions from deforestation. A green fund, which will provide poorer countries with funding to decarbonise their economies and adapt to climate change, will initially provide $30bn to developing countries, potentially rising to $100bn in 2020.
The only resistance came from Bolivia, who said that decisions had been made without consensus and that the agreement did not go far enough to prevent climate change.
What are the hopes for Bangkok?
The conference will provide an update on progress of the Cancún agreements and settle a plan for this year’s negotiations, at the COP17 summit in Durban, South Africa in November. It is hoped that delegates will lay the groundwork for a new deal on emission targets, so that an internationally binding commitment to reduce emissions can be reached before Kyoto expires next year.
What are the key sticking points?
The targets for emissions agreed at Cancún would set the world on course for 3.2C warming (according to researchers from the Climate Action Tracker), which could have devastating environmental consequences. This will need to be revisited, and any agreement should be legally binding.
It is thought that Japan’s nuclear crisis may also have an impact on talks because it has prompted nations to reconsider energy policies. Senior environment ministry officials in Japan have indicated that the country may have to revisit its own goals for cutting greenhouse gases as it attempts to grasp the impact of the crisis and the realities of post-quake reconstruction.
What will happen after Bangkok?
There will be further talks at the conference in Bonn in Germany this June. A final agreement is hoped for at the COP17 talks in Durban.